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Prize for Poetry (2011-)
The C.J. Dennis Prize for Poetry (1985-2010)
Subcategory of Victorian Premier's Literary Awards
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Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2022

winner y separately published work icon Trigger Warning Maria Takolander , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2021 19702968 2021 selected work poetry

'Trigger Warning is not for the fainthearted, but neither are the elemental realities of domestic violence and environmental catastrophe that these astonishing poems address. Comprised of three sections, the first summons a difficult personal history by conversing with poets – from Sylvia Plath to Anne Carson – whose dramatised confessions trigger Takolander’s own. The second part remains focused on the domestic, while redeeming that scene of trauma through a reinventing wit. The final section of this extraordinary book turns its attention outside, playing with poetry itself in order to confront the Anthropocene and the final frontier of death. This is poetry that balances ruthlessness and lyrical beauty; poetry alive to its time and audience; poetry not to be missed.'

Source : publisher's blurb

Year: 2021

winner y separately published work icon Case Notes David Stavanger , Nedlands : UWA Publishing , 2020 18541590 2020 selected work poetry

'Your name is not yours / once it’s in their mouth   

'The highly anticipated follow up to the award-winning collection The Special, this electric new body of work by David Stavanger is a mix tape of free verse, lyric poetry, found text, spoken word and flash fiction documenting the lived/living mental health experience and the well beyond.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon Nganajungu Yagu Charmaine Papertalk-Green , Melbourne : Cordite Press , 2019 16924590 2019 selected work poetry

'Forty years ago, letters, words and feelings flowed between a teenage daughter and her mother. Letters writen by that teenage daughter – me – handed around family back home, disappeared. Yet letters from that mother to her teenage daughter – me – remained protected in my red life-journey suitcase. I carried them across time and landscapes as a mother would carry her baby in a thaga.

'In 1978–79, I was living in an Aboriginal girls’ hostel in the Bentley suburb of Perth, attending senior high school. Mum and I sent handwritten letters to each other. I was a small-town teenager stepping outside of all things I had ever known. Mum remained in the only world she had ever known.

'Nganajungu Yagu was inspired by Mother’s letters, her life and the love she instilled in me for my people and my culture. A substantial part of that culture is language, and I missed out on so much language interaction having moved away. I talk with my ancestors’ language – Badimaya and Wajarri – to honour ancestors, language centres, language workers and those Yamaji who have been and remain generous in passing on cultural knowledge.

'–Charmain Papertalk Green'  (Publication summary) 

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon Tilt Kate Lilley , Sydney : Vagabond Press , 2018 14000255 2018 selected work poetry

'Tilt follows the skewed itinerary of attachment and loss, possession and dispossession; the movement of people and things, from Greta Garbo’s Manhattan exile to the Green Bans of 1970s Sydney to the precarious passages of deracinated subjects. In its detours through the copia of material history, lived experience and the archive of poetic forms, the book itself becomes a teeming repository of the real.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon Argosy Bella Li , Newtown : Vagabond Press , 2017 11075538 2017 selected work poetry

'This innovative full-length collection, drawing inspiration from the surrealist collage novels of Max Ernst, is an arresting and utterly unique assemblage of poetry, collage and photography. In two parts, the book engages with themes of travel and exploration, language and loss, identity and originality, as well as the relationship between poetry and other disciplines: the visual arts, history, literature and film. Polyglot in sensibility and content, and daring in construction, Argosy defies categorisation. Grounded firmly in Australian contemporary poetic practice, the book is also outward-looking in its approach to form and content; it constitutes a landmark in both local and international poetics.' (Publication Summary)

Works About this Award

A $125K Day for Australian Poetry (And Why We're Starting to Listen) John Kinsella , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: Crikey , January 2014;

'Jennifer Maiden took home $125,000 last night as the overall winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards — Australia’s richest literary prize — for her collection of poetry Liquid Nitrogen. I can think of none more deserving.' (Author's introduction)

Writers' Literary Labours Bear Fruit Jason Steger , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 29 January 2014; (p. 10)
Q&A with Justin Clemens 2009-2010 single work interview
— Appears in: Inscribe , Summer no. 1 2009-2010; (p. 11)
A Verse Case Scenario Don Anderson , 1988 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 31 December 1988; (p. 40)